Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monsters From The Id

Monsters From The Id  by Peter Burrows – 2/25/14

I read recently that scientists in England are having success improving some peoples’ mathematical abilities by using mild electrical stimulation to their brains.  This reminded me of a classic sci-fi film from 1956, “Forbidden Planet.”

The plot, in brief, has a space ship landing on a planet inhabited by only two people who arrived there sometime in the past, a mad scientist and his really ugly daughter. (Sure.)  He tells the new arrivals that the planet was once occupied by an advanced species that totally and mysteriously disappeared.

Still intact is a vast system of power generation and a device that, when strapped to the head, either measures intelligence or, at the flip of a switch, gives the brain an intelligence boosting electrical shock.  The mad scientist had given himself the shock treatment and had barely survived, though with a newly enhanced intelligence far higher than he had prior to the shock, and far higher than any of the newcomers.

Since mini-skirts were the craze throughout the galaxy, you don’t need to press a AA battery to your forehead to know that the inevitable soon begins to happen between daughter and Captain astronaut.  This, Papa doesn’t like, but even he doesn‘t know how much he doesn’t like it.

As the romance blossoms, the astronauts come under ever more ferocious attacks by invisible beings.  Just when the end looks near, one of the astronauts puts on the headset, gives himself an intelligence shock, and, sure enough, it does him in.  Before dying, he whispers that the jolt gave him the insight on their dilemma, namely, that they were being attacked by “monsters from the Id.”

Back in those days, Freudian psychology had captured the public imagination, so many in the audience were probably familiar with the mad scientist’s explanation when asked what the Id was:  “It’s an obsolete term once used to describe the elementary basis of the subconscious mind.”

Think of the Id as the source of the survival instinct, the kill-or-be-killed reaction, the unreasoning source of hate, lust, and fear.  This, of course, is immediately understood by our hero-lover-astronaut, who sees the source of all their troubles in the subconscious of the mad scientist father, who fears losing his daughter. Of more importance, the father has the intelligence to command the vast power of the forbidden planet through telekinetic abilities he doesn’t know he has, can‘t control, and which will lead to their total destruction.

I won’t bother you with the ending, other than to say it is an apt metaphor for our times.  The technology to destroy ourselves, as happened to the original inhabitants of the Forbidden Planet, is spreading rapidly, and we remain little more than intelligent apes, prone to primitive, tribal emotions that may not have been so dangerous in the past, though disastrous enough.

Who would deny that Hitler was a monster from the Id?  Furthermore, he Pied- Pipered the whole nation to follow him.  Up until they started losing the war, the German people adored Adolph Hitler, the Id monster. Just look at the young ladies in the crowds from 1930’s documentaries.  Elvis never had such “love.“

Furthermore, and this is the really scary part, a disinterested Martian paying us a visit in 1910, if asked to pick the most advanced, civilized, prosperous society on earth, would probably have picked Germany. Fast forward 25-30 years: Behold! German monsters from the Id run rampant. What if Hitler had possessed nuclear weapons?

There are three facts of life I wish were not true, but are:
1) Monsters from the Id will always be with us.
2) The spread of WMD means we can not afford the luxury of a Neville “Peace in our time” Chamberlain.
3) Neville Chamberlains will always be with us.

In a MAD age, an age of mutually assured destruction, there is hope that the monsters from the Id will be held in check by angels from the superego and reason from the ego — to exhaust my Freud —but, and this is very relevant, what if a nuclear armed monster from the Id is suicidal?  I am thinking of the Muslim sect known as Mahdaviats, who believe the world will be saved by the Twelfth Imam, also known as the Mahdi, who disappeared in the ninth century and will return to save a world descended into chaos and destruction.

Some Mahdaviats believe it is their religious duty to hasten the Imam’s return by creating the chaos required.  In such a world, MAD is not a deterrent but an encouragement. The best known such Mahdaviat of our time is former Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad, who oversaw the widening of a boulevard in Tehran to accommodate the triumphal return of the Twelfth Imam.  Why would Amadinejad do such a thing?

He is no longer president, but the new Iranian President, Hasan Rouhani, in a speech last May, said: “Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy. We need to express ’Death to America’ with action.”

The Iranians say they are not trying to build nuclear weapons, and even if true for now, their long range intentions are very suspect. They’ve been waiting for the Mahdi for over 11 centuries. A few more years, or decades, to gather the means to start the final confrontation with the Satanic West is of little import.

The number one question: Are they really planning to start a nuclear holocaust as a religious imperative?  If so, preemptive war, not Neville Chamberlain, is the only rational course of action..

Question number two, maybe it’s really number one: Do we have the moral courage for such a course of action?

Liberal/Progressive Derangement Syndrome

Liberal/Progressive  Derangement Syndrome By Peter Burrows 2/4/14

I recently watched a John Stossel show where he and guest Bob Beckel discussed raising the minimum wage.  Beckel, who was campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign, is probably best known these days as the token liberal on Fox‘s “The Five“ show.

Bob’s liberal bona fides were on full display in his heated support for raising the minimum wage.  He showed all  the symptoms, listed in any textbook on abnormal psychology, of  what is commonly known as Liberal/Progressive Derangement Syndrome (LPDS), a mental illness which leads to total irrationality .

For those not familiar with this devastating cognitive affliction, let me run through its various symptoms as I saw them ravage poor Bob.

1) Liberals have a deep psychological need to display their moral superiority.   Nothing satisfies this need better than a cause that fires up feelings of righteous indignation, outrage at an injustice, an unfairness, an inequality, an exploitation.  Bob was seething at the plight of people trying to make a living in this great country on the current minimum wage of only $7.25 an hour.

2) LPDS sufferers see victims everywhere, victims who need to be saved by them.  This doesn’t require any actual victims, just perceived victims.  In Bob’s eyes, anyone working for the minimum wage is a VICTIM!

3) Where there are victims, there must be villains, evil doers, exploiters, polluters, whatever. In this case, Bob‘s evil doers are those rotten, dirty bastard EMPLOYERS who pay poverty wages to Bob‘s victims.  Once again, there doesn’t have to be any actual villains, just perceived villains.

4) These victims are helpless pawns in an unfair system and are not to blame for their plight. People aren’t poor because they quit school, have out-of-wedlock babies, take drugs etc.  No, those are symptoms of an uncaring, free-enterprise society.  Thus, Bob displays the typical LPDS mind set: The individual doesn’t count because “it takes a village.”

5) This intolerable state of affairs can be fixed by passing a law or starting a government program that usually spends lots of money and shows how compassionate liberals are.  These programs don’t have to work.  In fact, they can do actual harm, but the Bobs don’t care as long as the programs make the Bobs feel good about themselves.  Eliminate poverty? Just raise the minimum wage. Problem solved for all the Bobs, but not all the kids who can‘t get jobs as a result.

6) The above law or program will not require liberals to make any personal sacrifices.  Bob doesn’t have any employees, but he’s sure a big shot with everybody else’s payroll.  President Obama, the day after his State of the Union Speech, displayed this symptom when he said about raising the minimum wage, “It’s time to give America a raise.”  GIVE? Who’s going to do the giving, Mr. President?

7) Liberals never let facts spoil their vision of reality. FACTS DON’T MEAN A DAMN THING.  Facts don’t have a chance against emotions.  Bob got so carried away he pounded the table and declared that there had never been a study, “Not one!” that had showed increasing the minimum wage did any harm. Poor Bob. In this, he is just flat wrong.

This last symptom has recently been the subject of a series of five articles by the economist Thomas Sowell entitled, “Fact Free Liberals.”   He devoted an entire column to the minimum wage in his 1/22/14 column, “Fact-free Liberals, Part II,” in which he wrote, “Various studies going back for decades indicate that minimum wage laws create unemployment, especially among the younger, less experienced and less skilled workers.”

The economist Walter Williams, in his 1/8/14 column, Politics and Minimum Wage, wrote: “There’s little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine, economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies ‘find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.’ ” Poor Bob probably only read the other 15 percent.  Sure.

I could bore readers by citing specific, recent studies, but let me close by noting that the late Milton Friedman over FORTY YEARS AGO decried the effect of minimum wage laws on black teen unemployment: “The minimum wage hits (them) particularly hard. I’ve often said the minimum wage rate is the most anti-negro law on the books.”

Recent unemployment numbers show black teen unemployment almost double that of white teens. Forty years and liberals still haven’t learned.

LPDS: Incurable.